Harmeet Desai celebrated his 30th birthday in style. And T. Reeth Rishya ensured that Harmeet’s heroics didn’t go to waste as Goa Challengers ended U Mumba TT’s unbeaten run in the Ultimate Table Tennis season four.
Harmeet earned four of the six points that were up for grabs in his two outings. But in the end, the solitary games that Alvaro Robles and Reeth won in their respective singles ties turned out to be decisive as Goa Challengers won 9-6 to register its second win in three ties.
Aruna, despite carrying a shoulder niggle, started the tie by racing to a 2-0 win. But Robles, the Spanish southpaw, came back to win the third game.
When Harmeet took to the table, the tie was levelled at three games apiece. He and Suthasini Saweattbutt overcame Manav Thakkar and Lily Zhang in an entertaining mixed doubles duel. The Goa ace then came back after conceding the opening game against his Gujarat junior Manav Thakkar to give Goa a 7-5 advantage going into the decider.
Reeth then snatched the second game against Lily - the highest-ranked female paddler this UTT season - with her impressive top-spin display to seal the deal for Goa Challengers. And the fact that she hung on to an 11-9 win in the last game turned out to be icing on the cake for her and her team.
The most entertaining match, however, was the first women’s singles tie between Suthasini and Diya Chitale, with the promising Indian paddler matching her World No. 38 opponent in pace and tactics.
In a match that left the audience spellbound, both the girls were involved in long rallies with the 21-shot rally at 3-0 in the second game that went in Diya’s favour earning thunderous applause.
Thursday’s fixture: Chennai Lions vs Bengaluru Smashers (7.30 pm)
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